‘Islamic studies’ also invoked as basis of exploiting religious sentiments
Hajin (Bandipora): A 62-year-old man from Bandipora has been described by police as “a chronic stone pelter”. The person is serving his 2nd consecutive detention under Public Safety Act in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
Police says that Ghulam Ahmad Parray, 62, who according to the police dossier is an executive member of Hurriyat (G) from Hajin in of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, had been a regular at stone throwing incidents. An excerpt from the police dossier to District Magistrate Bandipora reads: “As per the records of police station Hajin, it is crystal clear that you are a chronic stone pelter.”
The description seems to challenge the official narrative that some “misguided youth” were mainly responsible for trouble in Kashmir.
The “chronic stone pelter” mention came in the second PSA order, which was invoked on 18th of July this year, after the first PSA under which Parray was detained on 25 November 2016, was quashed. The first PSA didn’t use the description.
However, there are numerous FIRs against Parray which mention him as an instigator and supporter of strike calls given by Hurriyat. In a few, police have invoked his “Islamic studies” as the basis of exploiting religious sentiments among the public. According to his son, Parray led sermons on religious platforms but didn’t pelt stones.
His first PSA was quashed by the J&K High Court which observed that the PSA order did not stand the grounds of detention and was a verbatim copy of the police dossier. The high court observes in the order: “I find no application of mind on part of the detaining authority while passing order impugned…”
“For reasons discussed, the petition is allowed and detention order No 53/DMB/PSA of 2016 dated 25th of November 2016, passed by the District Magistrate Bandipora – respondent No 2, directing detention of Ghulam Ahmad Parray of Hajin District Bandipora quashed. Respondents are directed to set the detained at liberty,” reads the order.
However, Parray, despite the court order wasn’t released. He remained under preventive custody for a month and was detained again under PSA.
“He was brought to Hajin police station and remained in ‘preventive custody’ for a month. He was again sent to Kotbalwal jail after second PSA order,” Muzaffar Ahmad, Parray’s son told Kashmir Reader. But the grounds of detention mention that he was involved in unlawful activities on 11 June 2016, when he was still in police custody.
As per an intelligence report that police cites, during his detention Parray “used to send provocative messages through kith and kin, and friends, to your mentor of Hurriyat G manifesting your hardcore stand towards illegal and fanatic cause of your so called organization.”
The family views the allegations against Parray as absurd. “How can such an aged and religious man pelt stones or provoke youth to do bad,” said Muzaffar.
He says that his father is hypertensive and also suffers from prostate issues. “His condition at Kot Balwal worsened several times as he needs regular medication and checkups, and it takes a lot of money to travel there,” said the son who runs a grocery for living. “Last month, when he was here in the police station, I bought him medicine which he took along to Kot Balwal jail.” The family is seeking his transfer to Srinagar Jail given his age and medical condition.